April 25, 2019

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Ansley Watson Named VSU College of Education and Human Services Top Graduate

VALDOSTA — Ansley Ruby Watson of Hoschton, Georgia, is the recipient of the Spring 2019 President’s Award for Academic Excellence for the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services at Valdosta State University.

The President’s Award for Academic Excellence is presented to the graduating student with the highest grade point average in each of VSU’s six colleges — Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, College of the Arts, James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Science and Mathematics.

VSU will celebrate its 227th commencement on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11.

Watson will serve as the official banner carrier for the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services during the undergraduate commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, on the VSU Front Lawn. She will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education in communication disorders, a minor in deaf studies, and an Honors College Certificate.

“Being the recipient of this honor is extremely humbling,” she said. “This award is validation for the time and dedication I have put in to academia over the past four years. It is even more special to me as a first generation college graduate. Not only am I the first member in my family to graduate college, but also I did so with honors. The opportunity to lead my peers during the commencement ceremony fills me with humility and honor.”  

As a student at VSU, Watson was a member of the Honors Student Association, where she served as secretary from 2017 to 2019; Relay for Life; the American Sign Language Club; and the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, where she served as secretary from 2018 to 2019. She studied abroad in Ireland and worked as an anatomy and phonetics tutor. She volunteered as a peer mentor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Special Education, as well as with the Lowndes County Animal Shelter and Operation Christmas Child. She promoted literacy during the Honors College’s annual Dr. Seuss Day and collected school supplies for students across the globe.

Watson presented Literacy and Culture: A Perspective from a Cross-Cultural Section during the 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium. She participated in Building Communities Through Dialogue: An Oral History Project from 2017 to 2019.   

Watson’s commitment to academic, service, and research excellence resulted in her being recognized on the Dean’s List and being named a Zell Miller scholar every semester. She earned the Rotary Club of Braselton Scholarship four years in a row, the 2017 Outstanding Member of the Honors Student Association Award, and the 2018-2019 Outstanding National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association Student Award.

Watson plans to pursue a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders and pursue a career as a speech-language pathologist. She hopes to work in a children’s hospital, providing early intervention services to infants with feeding and swallowing issues and infants who are deaf or hard of hearing. She is the daughter of Sean and Susan Ogburn.

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